Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday Reads: This and That and Everything In Between

See, this is what happens when I don't do a Monday Reads post for a long time. My list ends up being massive.

Anyway, here's what I've read lately...

THAT GIRL DARCY by James Ramos. As soon as I heard about a gender-swapped YA retelling of Pride & Prejudice I was all SIGN ME UP! And this is another problem with not doing Monday Reads posts more often: I know I had thoughts about this book but now I can't remember what they were. I gave the book 4 stars so obviously I liked it, but I remember having a few issues with it. I remember loving the nerd angle, but also that some of the MC's introspection was a bit overdone or not quite believable. At one point, his thing was, I'm just obsessed with Darcy because I need to figure her out. Yeah, okay. Keep telling yourself that. It was a fun take on one of my fave classics though.

TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP by Ally Carter. This was the last book in the trilogy. Not my favorite books by Ally Carter (I LOVE her GG series so hard), but you can always count on her to have fast-paced books with humor and romance. Plus she did a great job ending the series, so no complaints here.

THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE by Stacey Lee. Ah, Stacey Lee. Easily one of my fave YA authors now. This book was just all kinds of wonderful. It's about a girl who's an "aroma expert." She can smell people's moods. Awesome, right? Her and her mom make potions for people who want to fall in love, but if she falls in love herself she'll lose her nose. So what happens? ENTER BOY. I mean, this book was funny, great voice, romantic, and completely original.

THE PAINTER'S DAUGHTER by Julie Klassen. This was my first Klassen book and it lived up to all the hype I'd heard about it. I absolutely adored the relationship between Sophie and Stephen, I couldn't stand Wesley (which made the book all the more compelling), but I loved the secondary characters. She interwove a little mystery throughout the story, plus I loved all the art references. I had one teeny tiny issue with the MC at this one point. She thought something that really got under my skin, and although it fit with the time period and she went on to sort of retract her opinion, it still irked me. But it wasn't enough to make me stop reading, or lessen my five-star rating.

ROSEBLOOD by A.G. Howard. A Phantom of the Opera retelling! I mean, right up my alley, right? (One of my YA's has a heavy Phantom influence.) This book was basically everything I wanted it to be. The twist on the original was what really made it awesome, not to mention the swoon-worthy romance. Too much exposition for my taste, but I still really enjoyed the book.

VICTORIA by Daisy Goodwin. What I didn't know about this is that the author wrote the novel and the TV series at the same time. Why that means something? Because the two were almost identical. Which is strange. But not necessarily a bad thing. Just strange. When movies/shows are based off a book, you know there will be some major differences. NOPE. Okay, there was one: the book ends sooner than the TV show. But that's all. I still really enjoyed it, I mean obviously- I loved the show. But like the show, I wanted more Albert. There is so much build-up of her relationship with Melbourne- the guy she doesn't end up with. I wish I could see that with Albert, too. Otherwise, loved it.

And that's what I've read lately people. Now I need a nap. Or maybe I'll go read...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Land of A Thousand Setbacks

So the post title might be a bit of an exaggeration. But I've found when you're in the thick of it, when setbacks hit you, it's hard not to feel like you're stuck in one spot and can't get out, or worse, moving backwards, further and further from your goals instead of towards them.

Me, to my goals

It started after Christmas when me and my agent parted ways. The split was amicable. She's a wonderful person and I wish her all the best, but it was still a setback plus a major bummer.

Then last week, my romance publisher Samhain announced they are closing down for good by the end of the month. While the news didn't come as a surprise- they announced a year ago they were closing but managed to stay open all this time- it's still a huge setback. And a double shot of bummer.

So what do you do when setback's happen? Because they do happen, to all of us. For me, I had a good cry (or three), I threw my little pity party, asked WHY ME? and got jealous of the writers who's journeys *seem* to be only on the up-and-up. I did those things, because it's human nature to do so. But now I've moved on.

You know that saying, there's no use crying over spilt milk? Well, it's tough but it's true. What happened, happened, and now I have to figure out my own path forward. Otherwise I'm just wallowing in these setbacks. Otherwise, it's ME preventing myself from moving ahead.

Said path is leading me into a place I wasn't sure I'd go: self-publishing. When Samhain closes at the end of the month, my book will be removed from vendors, so it's on me to get it right back up there. Self-publishing has always been in the back of my mind as a maybe for my romance novels, and a definitely for my novella. The novella isn't ready yet, and I figured I'd learn how to self-pub when it was. Enter Samhain's news and now I'm getting a crash course on the how-to's of self-publishing. On the upside, I belong to a small yet wonderful group of Samhain authors and we're all helping each other out. If it wasn't for them, especially the fabulous Lauren Smith who's done this all before, I'd be drowning, not knowing where to even begin.

Writing is easy for some people, or so they say. But for most of us, it's a constant struggle of some kind. For me, it's been a battle since I started this all seven years ago. I have no doubt it will continue to be a battle. As much as I wish I didn't always have to fight so hard for it, I know that it's toughened me up. So when the next setback comes, then the next and the next, I won't be knocked down for good. I will always get back up again.

Now comes the shameless plug. If you like romance, Samhain is having a sale on everything! Check out these books below by some fabulous authors. *heads up: each of these books has sexual content*

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Loves: Victoria

It's been awhile since I've done a Friday Loves post. I guess nothing has been really stirring those passion juices... until now.

I feel like I need to insert an evil laugh right here for some reason.

Anyway, I have this list a mile long of TV shows I want to try or continue, and Victoria was one of them. Being in an all around low (winter has a lot to do with that, among other things) I really wanted something sweet and romantic to escape into. So I thought Victoria would be the perfect fit.

And it was.

It was everything I wanted it to be and more. I completely loved the series and am seriously considering watching it from the start all over again. Jenna Coleman does a fabulous job. I love the storyline and sexual tension between her and Melbourne (even if it is made up), and I love love love the relationship between her and Albert. Most of all I love to see a young woman, looked down on by many of the men, overcome it, rise up, and show them who is boss.

My only complaint is that I wish the start of the relationship between Victoria and Albert dragged out a bit more. It could be because I like me some sexual tension, it could also be the contrast between three episodes between her and Melbourne and then it happens with Albert in one, but in any case, I would've liked to see that drawn out more before she's suddenly in love with him and him with her.

Otherwise, a fantastic show. Anyone who loves period dramas is sure to love this one. I can't wait for season two!